Reading well - shelf help

Here we have a list of recommended books to help you deal with a range of issues (e.g. self esteem, bullying, stress).  All books are free to borrow and it's free to join the library - find out how

Page contents

General (non-fiction)

Stuff that Sucks: Accepting what you can't change and committing to what you can
by Ben Sedley

A beautifully designed book aimed at adolescents that will help them deal with painful emotions by drawing on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and presenting them in ways that are eye-catching and easy to understand.

Mind your head
by Juno Dawson (formerly James Dawson)

Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, this book deals with a range of issues facing young people's mental health (whether fleeting or long-term) and how.

The Self-Esteems Team's Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!!
by Natasha Devon et al

Being a teenager can seem like a relentless merry-go-round of people telling you how to dress, what grades you must get and, most importantly, why you're spectacularly effing it all up.  This book contains everything you really want to know, but are too embarrassed to ask, from 'How do I know I'm healthy?' to 'What's it like to take drugs?'.

Blame My Brain: The amazing teenage brain revealed
by Nicola Morgan

Contrary to popular opinion, teenagers are not lazy, unpleasant - frankly, spotty - louts they occasionally appear to be. This book includes chapters dealing with powerful emotions, the need for more sleep, the urge to take risks, the difference between genders and the reasons behind addiction or depression.

Quiet the Mind
by Matthew Johnstone

In a world where finding even ten minutes to do nothing, the benefits of meditation can be profound. Meditation is simply a way of giving our brains a well-deserved break and can actually help our brains to function healthy and happily. This book shows you how to meditate without the need for uncomfortable lotus positions or prayer beads.

General (fiction)

Every Day
by David Levithan

Each morning, A wakes up in a different body.  There's never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that.  Never get too attached.  Avoid being noticed.  Do not interfere.  And that's fine - until A wakes up in the body of Justin and Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.  From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply.

House of Windows
by Alexia Casale

Nick hates it when people call him a genius.  Sure, he's going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that's just because he works hard.  And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father.  Not that his strategy is working.  When he arrives at Cambridge he find the work hard and socialising even harder.

Kite Spirit
by Sita Brahmachari

During the summer of her GCSEs Kite's world falls apart. Her best friend, Dawn, commits suicide after a long struggle with pressure. Kite's dad takes her to the Lake District, to give her time and space to grieve. Kite senses Dawn's spirit around her and is consumed by powerful, confusing emotions: anger, guilt, sadness and frustration.

I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realise is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

ADHD (fiction)

Putting on the Brakes: Understanding and taking control of your ADD or ADHD
by Patricia Quinn et al

Provides information, resources, medication types and glossary terms on ADHD.

Anxiety (non-fiction)

The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens: CBT skills to overcome fear, worry and panic
by Jennifer Shannon

If you have anxiety, your fears and worries can keep you from feeling confident and independent.  Teen milestones such as making friends, dating, getting good grades, or taking on more mature responsibilities, may seem much more difficult.  And if you're like countless other anxious teens, you may even avoid situations that cause you anxiety altogether.

My Anxious Mind: A teen's guide to managing anxiety and panic
by Michael Tompkins et al

Anxiety can make everything seem unmanageable - from dealing with family and friends to managing schoolwork and extracurricular activities. This book helps teens take control of their anxious feelings by providing cognitive - behavioural strategies to tackle anxiety and to feel confident and empowered in the process.

The Shyness and Social Anxiety workbook for teens
by Jennifer Shannon

Offers a complete program based in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for helping teens break free from social anxiety and stop worrying about what others think. This book helps teens come to see that painful emotions, such as embarrassment, are inevitable and survivable.

Anxiety (fiction)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
by Stephen Chbosky 

A powerful and perceptive coming-of-age story, in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye, from a talented young filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (fiction)

The Reason I Jump: One boy's voice from the silence of Autism
by Naoki Higashida

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only 13, this remarkable book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel - such as about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves. Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.

Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A user's guide to adolescence
by Luke Jackson

Luke Jackson has Asperger's syndrome. Over the years, he has learned to laugh at the names he has been called, but there are other aspects of life which are more difficult. With this book, Luke offers a guide to coping with Asperger's syndrome during the adolescent years.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time 
by Mark Haddon

A murder mystery like no other, this novel features Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old who suffers from Asperger's syndrome.  When he finds a neighbour's dog murdered, he sets out on a journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

Bullying (non-fiction)

Teen Life Confidential: Bullies, cyperbullies and frenemies
by Michele Elliott

Are there practical things you can do to stop being bullied - at home, at school and online? What are frenemies and how can you deal with them? How can you learn to make friends and respect yourself? This guide will tell you what bullying is, where it happens, and what you can do about it.

by Hope Vanderberg

True stories by teens about bullying

Confidence and self-esteem (non-fiction)

Banish Your Self-Esteem Thief: A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on building positive self-esteem for young people
by Kate Collins-Donnelly

Build up your confidence and self-esteem by learning how to banish your Self-Esteem Thief with this fun and imaginative workbook. Full of tips and strategies based on cognitive behavioural and mindfulness principles, it helps you banish negative thoughts and build healthy self-esteem. Suitable for young people aged 10+.

Teen Life Confidential: Self-esteem and being you
by Anita Naik

Are you scared to take risks in case you make a fool of yourself? Do you need other people's approval? If someone likes you do you think there must be something wrong with them? Do you hate your body? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this guide will help you to turn your opinions around.

by Benjamin Zephaniah

In his debut novel, poet Benjamin Zephaniah tackles the moving story of a young man, Martin, whose life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a joyriding accident. Martin was on top of the world. His credibility was sealed and Natalie was proud of him. If there's one thing that Martin is sure about, it's that life is pretty good to him. But life - as Martin is about to find out - has a habit of throwing the unexpected at you. At this point Martin knew something terrible had happened to his face. His heart pounded in his chest. He shifted his eyes to the left and saw his father standing over him 'Are you OK, son?' Martin's life is about to change forever. In his debut novel, poet Benjamin Zephaniah tackles the story of a young man whose life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a joyriding accident.

Depression (non-fiction)

Am I depressed and what can I do about it?
by Shirley Reynolds

An age-appropriate self-help guide based on current research that fills a significant gap in the market.  Depression is one of the most common mental health problems and is estimated to affect around 15% of people at some point during their life. For many people depression is a life-long disorder which starts during the teenage years - around 10% of teenagers are estimated to have an episode of depression and many more experience persistent low mood. This accessible, engaging and age-appropriate self-help guide based on current research and best practice for young people aged 13 to 17 who experience low mood and depression, and their friends, family and health professionals.

I Had a Black Dog
by Matthew Johnstone

There are many different breeds of Black Dog affecting millions of people from various walks of life. This title offers insights into what it is like to have a Black Dog as a companion and shows how the author learned to tame it and bring it to heel.

Can I tell you about Depression?
by Christopher Dowrick, Susan Martin and Mike Medaglia

Helps readers to understand what depression is, what it is like to feel depressed and how it can affect their family life.  This book explains how coping with depression can sometimes be very difficult but there is support an help available that can relieve the feelings of depression.

Body image and eating (non-fiction)

Banish Your Body Image Thief: A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on building positive body image for young people
by Kate Collins-Donnelly

This imaginative workbook is full of activities and strategies to build a positive body image. Using cognitive behavioural techniques, it shows how to banish negative thoughts and feelings and build self-esteem, positive beliefs and a healthy body image. Suitable for young people aged 10+ to work through alone or with a parent or practitioner.

Can I tell you about Eating Disorders?
by Bryan Lask, Lucy Watson and Fiona Field

Meet Alice - a teenage girl with anorexia nervosa.  Alice invites readers to learn about anorexia nervosa and how it makes her see herself differently from how other people see her.  She also introduces readers to Beth who has bulimia nervosa, Sam who has selective eating problems, Francesca who has functional dysphagia and Freddie who has food avoidance emotional disorder.  They all explain why they find food difficult and how their eating disorders are different.

Body image and eating (fiction)

Tyranny: I keep you thin
by Lesley Fairfield

Portraying a young woman's struggle with anorexia, the author draws on her own experiences of an eating disorder to give a powerful and candid story of hope and survival.

Mood swings (non-fiction)

Don't let your emotions run your life for teens
by Sheri van Dijk

Dialectical behaviour therapy skills for helping teens manage mood swings, control angry outbursts and get along with others.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (non-fiction)

Touch and Go Joe: an adolescent's experience of OCD
by Joe Wells

Joe Wells narrates his battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from its insidious beginnings and increasingly intrusive symptoms, to its diagnosis and treatment.  He includes advice and coping strategies, as well as first-hand accounts of available treatments.

Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT guide for young people and their families
by Jo Derisley et al

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a potentially life-long debilitating disorder. Using the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is the proven method for helping those with OCD, this book offers teenagers a structured plan of treatment which can be read alone, or with a parent, counsellor or mental health worker.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (fiction)

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He's determined to protect and defend her, to play Batman to her Robin, whatever the cost. But when you're 14 and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it's hard to imagine yourself falling in love.

Self-harm (non-fiction)

The Truth about Self-Harm
by Celia Richardson

For young people and their friends and families

Stress (non-fiction)

Fighting Invisible Tigers
by Early Hipp

A stress management for teens

The Teenage Guide to Stress
by Nicola Morgan

Nicola Morgan is something of an authority on the teenage brain and is often invited to schools and colleges to speak on the subject. She came up with the idea of 'The Teenage Guide to Stress' because so many parents and teenagers contacted her for advice and help. The book is divided into three sections: Section one explains what stress is and looks at the ways teenage stress is different. Section two deals with a number of issues that affect teenagers - from anger, depression and sexual relationships to cyber-bullying, exams and eating disorders - and offers guidance and advice, as well as looking at how pre-existing conditions such as OCD and dyslexia are affected by adolescence. Section three is concerned with how to deal with and prevent the symptoms of stress, as well as healthy ways of looking after your mind and body.